At approximately 12:45PM, Gibson County Central Dispatch received emergency 911 calls about an accident with injuries at US Highway 41/County Road 100 N, just north of Princeton involving multiple vehicles, including a fire with a person still trapped inside the burning vehicle. Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the scene in less than a minute after the initial 911 call and immediately began using fire extinguishers on the fire to remove the driver from the burning vehicle. Several truck drivers had also stopped and were using their issued fire extinguishers, prior to Sheriff’s Deputies arriving at the scene. Princeton Fire Territory arrived moments later, and immediately began to extinguish the fire, while sheriff’s deputies and first responders attempted to make contact with the driver, now identified as Cody B Byrnes, 23 yoa, of rural Princeton. Initially, Byrnes appeared to be life-less inside, but moved his arm moments later as emergency personnel continued to work to free him from the burning vehicle. Princeton Fire Territory was able to successfully extricate Byrnes from the burning vehicle.
Preliminary crash investigation indicates that a 2004 Buick SUV, driven by Annette Wallace, 56 yoa, of Vincennes was stopped at a red light southbound US Highway 41 at County Road 100 N. Cody Byrnes was also stopped in traffic directly behind Wallace in his 2003 Dodge Durango. A 2013 International 4300 straight truck belonging to Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc., driven by Steven Aulich, 41 yoa, of Newburgh, failed to stop at the automatic traffic control signal rear-ending Byrnes’ vehicle, which was then pushed into Wallace’s vehicle. Wallace’s vehicle stopped in the grass median south of the intersection and Aulich’s and Byrnes’ vehicles stopped south of the intersection on the west side of the roadway. Upon Aulich rear-ending Byrnes at the intersection, both vehicles caught fire. The impact of the crash pushed the rear of Byrnes’ vehicle to the front seat area causing Byrnes to be trapped inside.
Wallace was transported by Gibson County EMS to Good Samaritan hospital for minor injuries where she was treated and later released. Byrnes was transferred to an awaiting Life-flight helicopter where he was flown to St. Mary’s hospital in Evansville and later flown to an Indianapolis hospital for serious crash and burn related injuries, where he is listed in stable condition.
As part of the traffic crash investigation process, a chemical test for drugs and alcohol was completed on Aulich. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in this crash. Steven Aulich was cited for disregarding a traffic control signal and a commercial motor vehicle inspection will also be completed on the 2013 International, operated by Aulich.
Investigating Officer: Deputy Brad Garnett of the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office
Assisted by: Sheriff George Ballard and Deputies; Jeff Hill, Roger Ballard, U.B. Smith, and Randy Ziliak
Assisting agencies: Princeton Police Department, Indiana State Police, Princeton Fire Territory, Gibson County EMS, St. Mary’s Lifeflight
SOURCE: Gibson County Sheriff's Office - Nixle
New charges filed against an Evansville public official; Alleged to have laundered drug money for local marijuana dealers
EVANSVILLE – U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced this morning the filing of additional federal charges against John “Jay” Carter, age 48, of Evansville, a local government official who is alleged to have engaged in a scheme to launder drug proceeds for an Evansville area marijuana trafficking operation. This superceding indictment includes an additional count of money laundering, as well as charges that allege Carter provided false statements to federal law enforcement in March 2013 as part of the ongoing investigation.
“The growing list of allegations in this case depicts a pattern of criminal behavior that stretched across the City of Evansville,” Hogsett said. “We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to fully investigate this case, as well as any other matter involving wrongdoing by public officials.”
According to the initial indictment filed in April, two Evansville-area residents were engaged in the trafficking of large quantities of marijuana in Southwest Indiana in 2011-2012. The scheme allegedly involved the regular importation of hundreds of pounds of marijuana, which would then be distributed locally to other drug dealers and drug users. These activities resulted in large amounts of cash proceeds for the two men, and others associated with their alleged criminal activity.
The original indictment alleged that Carter agreed to assist these drug dealers in their efforts to launder these significant cash proceeds by facilitating real estate transfers, business deals, financial transactions, and in at least one case testifying before the Evansville Public Safety Committee in support of the awarding of a city contract that benefited them financially.
The new allegations involve two additional schemes that investigators allege were used by Carter to facilitate the money laundering. The first scheme involves Carter’s May 2011 purchase of a number of vehicles, including: a 2008 Chevy Malibu, a 2002 Mazda Protégé, a 1998 Dodge Ram truck, a 2001 Cadillac Seville, and a 2003 Hyundai Elantra. These vehicles were allegedly purchased by Carter using cash proceeds from the drug trafficking, and were
intended to be used to launder that drug money.
In a separate scheme, it is alleged in late 2011, Carter acquired the Jazzy Grooves nightclub on Main Street in Evansville using drug proceeds provided to him by the drug dealers. Those drug dealers continued to provide drug proceeds to Carter that were used to pay for improvements to the property. These transactions were also allegedly designed to launder drug proceeds. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed notice that, if convicted, Carter may be required to forfeit this property, as well as additional property that was obtained using drug proceeds.
In addition, new allegations have been filed that claim Carter produced fictitious documents that purported to be from a Vanderburgh County state court. These documents related to a half-million dollar drug money seizure that never occurred, and the documents were allegedly used by the traffickers to convince their drug sources, to whom they owed a debt, that their local drug dealing operation had sustained a financial loss at the hands of law enforcement.
Hogsett said this case was the result of outstanding law enforcement work by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations Division, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration in Evansville. Both agencies are partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Public Integrity Working Group, which was launched in April 2012 with the stated purpose of aggressively investigating allegations of public fraud, waste and abuse by public officials in Indiana. Hoosiers with information on public corruption are encouraged to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Brookman, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Carter now faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, seven counts of money laundering, one count of illegally structuring a currency transaction, and two counts of providing a false statement to law enforcement. If convicted on all counts, Carter faces up to 20 years in prison, significant fines, and years of supervised release at the end of his prison term.
SOURCE: Department of Justice News Release
1) On May 31, 2013, Warrick County Dispatch had dispatched County Officers to a fight in progress where two subjects that were involved had gotten into a vehicle and left the scene. The caller reported they were armed with a knife and were intoxicated. To help to try and locate this vehicle, Officer Ryan McIntosh went to the area of SR 66 and SR 261 to see if he could find this vehicle. Officer McIntosh noticed a vehicle matching this description drive into Huck's and two subjects got out and entered the convenience store. Officer McIntosh determined that these two subjects were the subjects involved and he also determined that they were intoxicated. During the course of Officer McIntosh's investigation, it was determined that the driver of the vehicle was driving while intoxicated and he was also in possession of drug paraphernalia and Marijuana. It was also determined that the passenger had stolen two hot dogs from Huck's. The driver was charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Paraphernalia. The passenger was charged with Public Intoxication and Conversion.
2) On May 29, 2013, Officer Justin Chambers was patrolling the area of SR 662 and Frame Road when he saw a vehicle commit a traffic violation. Officer Chambers stopped this vehicle at SR 662 and Ellerbusch Road and found that the driver of this vehicle had a suspended driver's license. This subject was charged with Driving While License Suspended.
3) On May 29, 2013, officers were dispatched to the Newburgh Community Park / Pool in reference to a male subject chasing some juveniles with what appeared to be pliers. When officers arrived, it was determined that the male subject had a pair of hedge trimmers and assaulted two juveniles with the hedge trimmers and one juvenile with his hands. Sgt. Chad Bailey charged this subject with three counts of Battery.
4) On May 29, 2013 at approximately 5:00 PM, Officer Lindsey Bean was patroling Sharon Road and observed a vehicle speeding. Officer Bean stopped the vehicle in the area of Sharon Elementary School. While talking to the driver of the vehicle, she could smell and odor of an alcoholic beverage. Officer Bean charged this subject for Speeding and Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated. The subject's BAC was .26.
SOURCE: Newburgh Police Department - Facebook
Evansville, IN – Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Vanderburgh County Superior Court, a jury found Christopher Bell, age 23, Guilty of Murder as well as Conspiracy to Commit Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury – Class A Felony. Bell also pleaded guilty to a habitual offender enhancement to the murder conviction, an enhancement that will add on 30 years to his murder sentence of 45-65 years. Bell faces up to 20-50 years for the Class A Felony.
Bell is the accomplice to Ted Mueller Jr. who has been already found guilty of the same charges, for the shooting and killing of Cedric Watt in September 2012.
SOURCE: Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office
Jack Perkins III - Source: Courier & Press
Evansville, IN – Thursday, May 29, 2013, in front of a packed court room, Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge Kelli Fink sentenced Jack Perkins III, age 28, after he had previously plead guilty. Perkins had plead guilty to Child Molesting – Class A Felony and Criminal Confinement – Class B Felony. Judge Fink sentenced Perkins to 45 years for the A felony and 15 years for the B felony. Those charges were found to be run concurrently. Perkins is a credit restricted felon, and will serve 85 percent of his time behind bars.
In January 2012, Perkins kidnapped a nine year old boy from his backyard before committing the felonies. The boy escaped and reported the incident to Police who located and connected Perkins to the case. Perkins also faces Federal charges to be tried later this year on 10 counts of child pornography.
In court, Judge Fink heard testimony from EPD Detective Brian Turpin, who specializes in sex crimes. Turpin discussed his conversations with Perkins after his arrest and addressed his confession to both this crime and a similar crime from earlier in Perkins’ life. Police are still searching for the victim in the other crime.
After detective Turpin finished, the state called EPD Officer Brad Evrard to the stand, who testified that in a seizure of Perkins’ computer, there were several child pornographic videos and images downloaded to it, as well as a handful of CDs with images stored on them. The state used this as an aggravating factor in the case, contesting that this was not an isolated incident.
Before both sides went to final arguments, the Victim’s Mother and Father gave powerful pleas to the court, expressing that their son would be serving a life sentence, and Perkins should be as well. They were ready for this phase of the ordeal to be over and to enable everyone involved to be able to begin to move forward.
As Vanderburgh County Nick Hermann and Defense Attorney David Lamont went back and forth, Prosecutor Hermann said “Mr. Perkins faces time on two separate felonies. I am well aware of the range the court can sentence him but personally I don’t think any of them are acceptable. The only way to protect this community is to incarcerate him.”
After both sides rested, Judge Fink thanked everyone for their testimonies and went through what she believed to be the mitigating and aggravating factors. She sentenced Perkins to 45 years for the child molesting charge and 15 for the criminal confinement. Those charges are counted to be run consecutively. Due to the nature of the crime, Perkins must serve 85% of his sentence.
The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the Evansville Police Department Detectives for their tremendous work on this case as well as the Officers who searched for and located Perkins after the incident. Also thank you to the citizens who helped officers locate Perkins, and to everyone who showed up in court to support the victim in this case.
SOURCE: Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office
The Evansville Fire Department broke new ground in 2005 with the City’s first hybrid vehicles. Now EFD has broken ground once again by purchasing the Department’s first SUVs.
Four 2013 Ford Utility Interceptor emergency response SUVs, went into service yesterday. Based off of the Explorer SUV, the new response units will be utilized by the East and West Suppression District Chiefs, the Special Services Chief who oversees the Hazmat, Confined Space, Rope and Dive Teams and the Chief of Operations.
The extra interior space will be “home” for all of the maps, reference books and equipment each Chief needs to access. The all-wheel drive capability will also prove beneficial for inclement weather.
The price tag for the 4 new vehicles was about $240,000 which includes emergency equipment, emergency lighting, siren/PA, Mobile Data Computer, State EMA radio and dual 800MHz Fire Dept. radios for each.
EVANSVILLE—U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced today the early morning arrest of six Evansville residents who are alleged to have engaged in a scheme to obtain and distribute large quantities of methamphetamine. This case comes on the heels of two additional federal methamphetamine busts in the Evansville area in recent weeks, and Hogsett said these prosecutions are part of a concerted effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to crackdown on drug trafficking in the area.
“The scourge of methamphetamine has weighed heavily on Evansville and communities across Southwestern Indiana,” Hogsett said. “That is why we are working with our local partners to send a message that we won’t tolerate anyone who seeks to make their living by bringing drugs and death into our neighborhoods.”
According to a federal indictment unsealed this afternoon, six individuals have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Beginning in November 2011, it is alleged that Joshua Chaffin, age 29, was the leader and supervisor of a scheme that obtained and distributed large quantities of the drug in the Evansville area.
Chaffin was allegedly aided by William Hollis, age 31, and Travis Sutton, age 30, who would assist in the distribution of methamphetamine to other members of the drug trafficking organization. Those mid-level distributers included Gary Winstead, Jr., age 32, and Michael Hartweck, age 28.
Throughout the conspiracy, it is alleged that the methamphetamine was “fronted” to drug dealers, where they would be provided methamphetamine, and would then pay back the drug traffickers after the drugs had been sold. The indictment includes charges against Jennifer
Chumley, age 25, who is alleged to have collected these debts owed to the organization as part of the scheme.
The defendants allegedly used cell phones to coordinate the methamphetamine trafficking operation. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants used code language in their phone calls and text messages in an attempt to keep their criminal activity hidden and would frequently dispose of their phones and purchase new ones. The conspiracy also used a number of properties across the city to store drugs and money related to the scheme, including properties at 1613 Beckman Avenue and 1841 Belmar Lane.
This investigation was the result of outstanding law enforcement work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Evansville. Local partners included task force officers from the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department, and the Evansville Police Department.
Hogsett also cited the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Wheatley, a former Vanderburgh County deputy prosecutor who is prosecuting this case for the government, as well as a number of other high-profile drug trafficking cases in the Evansville area. According to Wheatley, all six of the defendants face 10 years to life imprisonment if they are found guilty. They also face significant fines and the possibility of years of federal supervision after their prison terms are served.
Vanderburgh County – Last night and early this morning, Indiana State Police conducted a saturation patrol targeting dangerous and impaired drivers in Vanderburgh County. Between 10:00 last night and 2:30 this morning, troopers issued 15 traffic tickets, 40 warnings, arrested two impaired drivers and cited one minor for transporting alcohol. Both impaired drivers were arrested and are currently being held on bond in the Vanderburgh County Jail.
• Constance Bennett, 28, of Evansville, IN
1. Driving While Intoxicated, Class C Misdemeanor
• Steven Magruder, 42, of Evansville, IN
1. Driving While Intoxicated with a BAC of .15% or more, Class A Misdemeanor
Arresting Officers: Trooper Korey Mauck and Senior Trooper Keith Schmitz
The Indiana State Police are committed to traffic safety and will continue to conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to apprehend impaired drivers and to deter others from drinking and driving.
SOURCE: Indiana State Police - Nixle